As Governor Rick Perry’s high profile legal team goes to court to defend his formal arraignment of two felony accounts that were issued against him while serving as governor of Texas, Rick Perry is on the road in New Hampshire and South Carolina, questioning the constitutionality of the charges he faces in Texas, criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy in Iraq, and trying to rally the Republican base to make a presidential bid in 2016.
After a liberal watchdog group named Texans For Public Justice issued an ethics complaint against Governor Perry earlier this year, a Republican judge was responsible for appointing San Antonio Attorney Michael McCrum to review Perry’s case involving allegations of the misuse of his power while he was serving as governor.
Governor Perry was indicted by a grand jury last Friday and pled “not guilty” on Tuesday to two felony accounts related to a 2013 veto threat that he carried out after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to resign after serving over 20 days in jail from a DWI citation.
If District Attorney Lehmberg had agreed to resign from her position as district attorney, Governor Perry could have chosen a Republican replacement.
Since she refused to resign, Governor Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding for District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office.
Governor Perry is now facing two felony accounts involving coercion of a public official and abuse of official capacity in connection to his veto threat.
The legal case against Governor Perry will center around the question about whether he acted improperly by attaching a coercive threat to his veto authority while serving as governor.
Governor Perry already dismissed the the two felony accounts, calling them “baseless political charges” in a news conference after his booking on Tuesday.
Governor Perry has found political support among Republicans, Democrats, and prominent newspapers.
On Tuesday the New York Times concluded in an editorial, “the indictment handed up against him on Friday – given the facts so far- appears to be the product of an overzealous prosecution.”
On Thursday while addressing a Republican audience at the Heritage Foundation, Governor Perry cited several Democrats who already came to his defense.
“With David Axelrod, Lanny Davis, Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Chait all saying this is sketchy, totalitarianism, McCarthyite, I agree with them.”
While speaking at the Heritage Foundation, Governor Perry pressed for the United States to take stronger military actions through the use of sustained airstrikes. He also maintained that he would support sending in ground troops, saying that “all options need to be open.”
By articulating a position that involves U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq, Governor Perry is beginning to sound a lot more like former U.S. President Bush who authorized the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003 with Congressional support, costing the U.S. over $ 2 trillion dollars.
Governor Perry has pulled further to the right of Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), a Republican hawk who is against sending in U.S. troops to Iraq.